4 Steps To Get The Raise You Deserve

There is nothing like excelling at a job you love! This is the job you have always dreamed of, and this is a career which allows you to fulfill your purpose- Monday to Friday 9 to 5.

There is just one problem, you feel undervalued, underappreciated and no one seems to notice how you go above and beyond for this company. You have been at this organisation for a number of years and you have worked your way up the ranks, however, your salary has not had the upliftment you feel you deserve.

Well it’s high time you demand your value be addressed accordingly. Here’s a four-step process to help you get that get the raise you rightly deserve.

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Conduct thorough research

Find out what other people in a similar role are earning. What is the current going rate in the market? Whilst you are it, find out what other people on a similar level to you in the company are also earning.

You want to know what to ask for when you go in guns blazing. By doing your research, be sure to also find out what the role entails for other people at other organisations. The same role can be different at two different organisations, others might do more or less.

I recall during my legal days. As I was working as a Paralegal, I met other Paralegals from other firms who were earning more than me. Now as they told me of their higher earning power I was infuriated, but it turns out their roles demanded more of them than mine did.

Your research should expand to you as a person as well. What have you been doing that entitles you to a pay rise. If you have been turning up late, missing days, taking extended long breaks and not performing well, perhaps you need to go back to the drawing board and think about why the company should not deduct your pay instead.

Napoleon Hill said, going the extra mile, “tends to make one indispensable, in many different human relationships and it therefore enables him to command more than average compensation for personal services.”.

 

Initiate  the conversation

Schedule a meeting with the person at your company who has the authority to give you a raise ,or bring it up during one of your reviews. Put the issue out there/ on the table. Don’t be aggressive and don’t be emotional in your address. You’ve done your research, come armed with facts and data.

Remember, you are worth something to them and if they don’t see that, that is their loss. You are in control of this.  Sometimes the company will not think about giving you a raise until you mention it. If you don’t ask don’t expect to receive.

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Stand firm in your worth

If you have asked for a pay rise, be brave enough to stand up for yourself and tell the company what you think you are worth. If they fail to give you a raise, be brave enough to exude your worth, politely remind them elsewhere this is what they are offering, and you have no issues going elsewhere if need be.

I would advise having a plan, if you decide to go down this route, just in case they call your bluff. This should not be too much of an issue. The only issue is as human beings we get complacent. I have worked in firms where some of my colleagues had been there for years, not earning much because they were comfortable at their work place.

You may not be getting the pay rise you deserve because you are unwilling to explore. Have you considered moving to another city or even out of the country?

 

Execute

Whatever the outcome of your pay rise meeting is, execute the results. If a pay rise has been agreed on continue working hard and go the extra mile. If one has not been agreed on and you still feel you deserve one, figure out your next step. Are the reasons for the pay rise being refused justified? i.e let’s review it in three months. Are you willing to wait around or are you ready to make a jump into the next role?

You need to see the value in you before you expect anyone to. As human beings, we are sometimes oblivious to our faults. Evaluate yourself and be honest, would you give yourself a pay rise. If so get to working on it and show them why you deserve one.


Do you have any tips on how to get a raise?

Let us know here.

 

Women at Wave: Empowering Young Africans Beyond the Limits

Wave Academies is a vocational training platform which aims to empower millions of disadvantaged West African youth. With skills that transform their mindset and employment opportunities that enhance their social mobility.

Misan Rewan is the founder of WAVE Academy. Born and raised in Nigeria, Misan plays a vital role in the transformation of Nigeria’s education and skill development sectors. She has worked in management consulting with The Monitor Group on a wide spectrum of projects in both the private and public sector. She also supported aspiring Ivoirian entrepreneurs through, TechnoServe’s Business Plan Competition; and developed a scholarship administration model as a consultant with the Center for Public Policy Alternatives in Nigeria. Misan supported Bridge International Academies’ international expansion strategy, and  is a Draper Richards Kaplan Social Entrepreneur.

Noella Moshi is the Programs Lead at WAVE.  She was on the founding team of African Leadership University (ALU) Education where she directed Marketing, and worked on the curriculum. Noella co-developed Goodbye Malaria, a social impact venture that works with private and non-profit organisations to eliminate malaria. She is a Mandela-Rhodes scholar, and a Praxis Fellow.

Ifeanyi Okafor  grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. She is passionate about helping young people discover themselves.

Aissatou Gaye  is a Senegalese citizen who works as a Finance Coordinator at WAVE. She is currently helping the organization draft its way towards financial sustainability through various revenue diversification and cost reduction strategies.  Aissatou is also the co-founder of YAWcamp, a summer camp that focuses on developing critical, creative and proactive thinking among Senegalese youth.

Amina Lawal is the training operations coordinator at WAVE. She is skilled in communication, research and creative writing.  She firmly believes that having the balanced 360 degrees life is possible and steadily strives to have such balance. When she is not working, Amina writes for various blogs.

We share the amazing story of these great women and how their awesome work at WAVE is creating the next generation of change drivers.


What was the driving force that lead to creating WAVE?

Lifting John Stott’s definition of vision as: a deep dissatisfaction with what is and a clear grasp of what could be, I’d say the driving force behind starting WAVE was a deep dissatisfaction with the state of affairs for West African youth.

There are over 40 million unemployed youth in West Africa, but beyond the statistics are real faces, people like you and I, whose reality is chronic unemployment, disillusioned poverty and a loss of dignity that leads to growing levels of frustration across the region.

WAVE was an attempt to stop complaining and to do something about it. So a few friends got together in a room and started designing a solution. Enter WAVE – an attempt to level the playing field for hardworking young people by teaching them the skills required to get a good job, increase their incomes and build a brighter future

 

 

What has been the biggest challenge(s) you’ve faced and how have you crossed each hurdle?

Biggest challenge faced has probably just been me dealing with my own insecurities (imagined and real) and coaching has been helpful in crossing the hurdle. I don’t hear enough leaders in this part of the world talk about their shortcomings and how they’ve built support networks to deal with them, and I’m no different.

So overcoming has been through everything, from having a coach who helps bring self-awareness to my “automaticities” (my default way of responding) and helps me generate my best self, to family and friends who “hold the space” for me to JUST BE (rather than DO), to the serenity prayer that helps me discern where to focus my brain cells, effort and anxiety. I could give you a laundry list of other challenges faced but the critical challenge/hurdle is dealing with me first so I can see most other challenges as opportunities for learning and growth.

 

I see most challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow Click To Tweet

 

What values have been crucial to your success in the business world?

Inclusiveness – Most of what drives me comes from a simple notion I’ve had since I was a kid, of not wanting poor people to be poor.

At WAVE today, this value translates as “Putting People First” – from the people we exist to serve, to our team who does the serving to our partners who support our service. Our clients see how we have designed our model, service delivery and feedback culture to put them first and so are able to be very forgiving when we slip up, give us feedback and grant us a second chance to make it right.

 

 

 

What principles and skills are necessary for young people to possess in order to excel in today’s world?

There are three things I think are important for success: Knowing your “why”: Understand what motivates you, and connect it to whatever work you are doing. For example, I care about learning for the sake of personal growth. That’s my “why”. As long as I am doing work that pushes me to stretch beyond my current capabilities, my “why” is being fulfilled.

Learning from everyone: Everyone has something to teach us, and if at any point we aren’t learning, then we need to look harder for the lessons. One of my favourite things about working at WAVE is that each person brings insights from their unique experiences; from the driver to an intern, to the people we serve.

Trusting yourself. No one knows you better than you know yourself. Take advice from everyone, but at the end of the day, whatever decision you make must come from you, so that you can stand by it. That way you avoid regret, and you avoid living someone else’s life.

 

What innovations have helped in achieving the set goal at WAVE, and how exciting is it to train young people of diverse background and see them become more equipped Africans?

Our goal at WAVE is to increase income for unemployed youth. We do this by screening youth for attitude and motivation, training them on employability skills, and then matching them to job opportunities, where they can earn while they learn.

Our most powerful innovation has been to integrate “paradigm change” throughout our process. End to end, we focus on helping youth to mentally connect the dots from where they are, to where they want to be. After WAVE, youth who had dreams but no belief that they could achieve them, can now see how their current efforts will lead them to the next step of the ladder to wherever they want to go. Their self-image also changes: After WAVE, they no longer say “I can’t do this”. Instead they say: “I can’t do this yet”.  And that mindset shift makes all the difference.

 

 

Everyone has something to teach us, and if at any point we aren’t learning, then we need to look harder for the lessons Click To Tweet

 

 What mechanism are necessary for facilitating trainings at the Academy?

A trainee must be between 18 and 35 years old, they must agree to the terms and conditions of the training. The trainer and the training operations coordinator must be physically and mentally ready. We make sure each training cycle runs at it’s optimum best.

 

What tools and support are relevant for young people in the course of their advancement and what kind of partnership would be vital to this?

We provide absolute in-house trainers and also external facilitators who are experts in their fields to train these young people. We also provide ”on the job” support for them, by arranging workshops, alumni panel and counselling.

A partnership with Google could help with the ICT angle, covering the fundamentals of computer skills and basic software they need to know about. Also, the social media angle, most of the jobs we get are evolving, so many of our employers want people with computer skills, or those who can use social media.

 

 

 

What support system has been relevant in helping WAVE thrive over the years?

The success of WAVE over the past three four years has been a combination of multiple factors. The level of engagement and passion from our staff to deliver a rigorous and excellent model. To make access to economic opportunities easier for young underprivileged youth, the financial support we receive from our funders and their commitment to the vision that we are after, and last but not least our employer partner network who are willing to hire based on soft skills, instead of proxies like degrees.

 

How impactful have the programs at WAVE been over the years, and what kind of investors are you looking to work with in the future?

WAVE’ s reach has grown a lot over the past four years. Since our inception in 2013, we were able to train over 1600 youth on employability skills and place over 800 of them on jobs in the hospitality and retail industries, of which a good number was able to double their income after a year on the job.

We however still have a long way to go to reach the numerous unemployed youth in Nigeria and across West Africa; we cannot do the job alone. We are currently codifying our magic to share with different stakeholders that could effectively reach our target market and bring about the change we want to see: a world where every young person is equipped enough to move up the economic ladder.

 

 

What’s the one phrase that resonates for WAVE and why?

The resonating phrase at WAVE is “Start small, Learn fast and Grow big”. The reason behind this is that we believe and understand that the soft skills we train on are vital to the achievement of career goals. Success is not achieve overnight, but it takes consistent conscious steps towards the achievement of success. WAVE is one of those conscious steps to career growth.

 

Start small, Learn fast and Grow big Click To Tweet

 

What recent achievements have re-echoed the growing impact of WAVE?

One of the recent achievements that re-echoes at WAVE is the increment of our Alums average Salary to N33,000. It is an achievement for us because this is what we set out to do; increasing the income of youth who do not stand a fighting chance in our economy today.

 

Tell us your favourite destination country?

My dream destination country is America because of the limitless career growth  opportunities available.


Are you doing any impactful work to empower unemployed youth?

Let us know more  here.

The elephant in the room: Year-end bonus

You need to have a financial safety net for when companies can't pay bonus cheques Click To Tweet

Cash Roulette

Many of us dream of the plans we will carry out with our year end bonus. We have already lined up a string of events which we are going to splurge on, and have soon- to-be-bought outfits picked out mentally. In addition to that we have, the vacation plans, the children’s school apparel and school stationary for the next year. We basically plan out an entire budget (read: splurge) from our upcoming bonus.

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The elusive 13th cheque

It may happen that one is so accustomed to receiving their bonus cheque every year-end that it ends up being a customary thing; where no consultation is had and there is an expectation that this will definitely come to pass.

However, most companies give 13th cheques based on the performance of the company in a particular financial year. Other companies offer a bonus on the premise of whether an individual has performed their duties exceptionally or not.

As such, it is always important to never just assume that you will receive a bonus. It is important to inquire with human resources, the company accounts division or your immediate supervisor. This will assist in managing expectations from friends, family and yourself about what you can or cannot spend on.

 

Most companies give a 13th cheque based on the performance of the company in the financial year Click To Tweet

 

Money makes the world go round…

Or does it? There are a myriad of things that money can help us achieve. But, is it the be all and end all of our lives? Oftentimes companies are not able to pay out bonus cheques in a particular year. In this case, it is advisable to have a financial safety net which will assist with the year end and early year costs which come after festive shenanigans.

 

computer keyboard and present on table

 

In order to ensure that you are not caught between a rock and a hard place; the first step to building a healthy financial lifestyle would be to save a portion of your monthly income. A little bit every week or month (depending on your remuneration structure) will definitely will go a long way.

 

The myth about ‘goals’

In the 21st century everything either qualifies as or is a goal. An aesthetic, something to live up to. Everyone is in a perpetual and often self-inflicted rat race. We want to be better, own more, drive the best and live in an affluent neighborhood. Even if all of this at an often high cost to the self. Alleviate this pressure by being certain of your finances before making commitments.

 

No is a complete sentence

We need to learn the art of saying no to situations which do not grow us or expand our territory. The aim is to lead a life that will not be drastically altered whether you receive your bonus or not. It is possible for one to lead the ideal life without having to break the bank to get there. It requires self-discipline and a huge dose of honesty.

 

You should lead a life that will not be drastically altered whether you receive your bonus or not Click To Tweet

 

Bonus or no bonus?

The aim at all times should be to ultimately lead a life of financial freedom. If this means having a side business/job on the side, then so be it.

Truth is that for most of us, one source of income is not enough. Some are fortunate to have partners who balance things out in the home because of a dual income. However, it is possible to live your best life and stay out of debt at the same time. Financial freedom should be the new cool, the ultimate aesthetic.

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Do you have any financial tips on budgeting for the festive season?

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

5 tips on how to talk your way into a promotion at work

Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut in your current position? Is the thrill of having a challenge long gone ? Are you having a hard time connecting the dots between how your current position will lead you to the position you aspire to be in some day?

If you’re feeling any of the above, the obvious choice might be to move on from your current job, to “greener pastures”. However, there is another alternative. Maybe all you need is a “current job makeover”.

I applied the 5 tips below when I found myself in a similar situation and the result was that I got a promotion, a significant salary increase and renewed passion and excitement for my job.

In the end, facts win over feelings when it comes to your professional life Click To Tweet

Make yourself indispensable

From day 1 when I started my current job, I was eager to prove that I could do the job better than anyone else who had come before me. I came in early and left late. I often took work home in the evenings and on weekends (I had just moved to a new city in a new country so, in a way, work was also my solitude).

I asked lots of questions. Read as much as I could to help me understand the new industry I was working in. When the opportunity to do tasks outside of my job description came up, I jumped at them immediately. Soon I started to see that my boss was getting more comfortable letting me do things that were technically above my pay grade. Work hard to make yourself indispensable.

 

Figure out what you still have left to learn

In the early days, I would sit in meetings with my boss and the higher ups, and realized that half of what they were saying was Greek to me. Granted, I was doing a kick ass job in my little corner, but there was so much about the work that I had no clue about.

I made it my personal mission to learn from every member of the team, by offering to help them out with various assignments. The more I learned, the more I realized that the higher ups in my team started to pull me into the inner circle. Eventually, they even started asking for my opinion about things.

Pitch a new position which reflects where you are trying to go

Realizing that I could do so much more in this field was probably what brought on the itch to leave in the first place. Suddenly my role became too small and too confining. On one hand, I wanted to grow and take on even more responsibility. Bur on the other hand I knew that I did not have the over 10 years experience the colleague next in line had.

What to do? I drew up a list of the things in my current job description that I wanted to keep doing; the things outside of my job description that I wanted to do more of; and the things that I wanted to learn to do.

In doing this exercise I came up with a whole new job description. I pitched this idea to my boss. She took my proposition seriously and brought this to the attention of the higher ups. After some deliberation and modification; they agreed to create this new position for me.

Back up your request with facts

I didn’t just rock up into this meeting and demand to have them switch things up for me for no good reason. I took the time to document every single thing that I had done on the job, including the things that were outside my role.

From the big things where I’d helped out with projects in other countries, to the little things like the new initiatives I’d spearheaded within our country team. For every new task and responsibility, I included in my new job description, I backed it up with examples that showed that I was up to the task.

In the end, facts win over feelings when it comes to your professional life. No one is going to hand you something just because you ask for it. People are never going to pay you what you think you’re worth. You’re going to have to get in there and show yourself as worthy and then claim what is yours.

 

Keep your cool and be prepared to walk

I remember walking out of the meeting thinking “What if my boss takes this to the higher ups and they say no? Then what?” I knew that if it came to that then I would have to make a decision to leave.

If you realize that you are in an environment that is not invested in your growth and is not helping you actualize your full potential, then I think that is always the best time to walk away. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to.

A week later, they came back with an offer that was even better than I could have imagined. So I stayed, and I’m committed to growing but also contributing to the growth of my team; and doing my part to help them achieve their objectives.


Have you been in a similar situation at work?

Let us know your story here.

 

Nneka Obianuju Onubogu: I have never felt inferior because of my gender

Read how Nneka Obianuju Onubogu a Mechanical Engineer; and currently a research assistant at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman Malaysia, is unperturbed by gender stereotypes in the industry.

A Harvard Business Review article of 2016, was an answer to an inquiry of ” why do so many women who study engineering  leave the field?” And one of the reasons given was “gender stereotypes”. So, if you are contemplating abandoning your career in one of the STEM fields due to gender stereotypes or any other reason, before you throw in the towel, wait!

I have a passion for fixing things Click To Tweet

Having a role model and following your passion makes it easy

Nneka’s motivation for pursuing a career in mechanical engineering were influenced by two things:

“First is my dad, who is a practicing Mechanical Engineer. I admired and still admire him so much that I wanted to be just like him. Secondly, I have a passion for fixing things. I am very inquisitive on the mechanics behind any machines’ motion. Right from childhood, I had a habit of unscrewing all my toys and fixing them back over and over again.”

When you are passionate about anything, it will be very hard for you to throw in the towel, especially when the going gets though.

being different means making a difference anywhere you go and anywhere you find yourself Click To Tweet

Remember that you are a woman with talents and abilities

Being a ‘woman’ should not make you feel less than a human being when assigned to male dominated teams, you are as capable as your male colleagues!

Nneka says “Our research team actually consists of all men (Professors, Doctors and lecturers) and one lady (myself). We treat each other equally and there has never been a period when I felt inferior because of my gender”.

When you still feel overwhelmed,borrow a page from Nneka’s book,”sometimes I feel like ‘a woman in a man’s world’ hence, I give my best contribution to my team”.

Nneka is  currently working on a project tagged ‘Wide acceptance angle optical fiber-based day- lighting system using two-stage non-imaging solar concentrator’. “This is a project sponsored by the Ministry of Energy, Malaysia”.

The papers can be found in the links below:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187661021

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030626191730750X

I have met many ladies like me who are in male dominated career paths and they also strive hard to be the best and make a difference Click To TweetBlend in

Whether you are in a local or global community, do not isolate yourself. Nneka, although from Africa, found herself working and studying in Asia. She quickly learned the language and befriended some locals.

“Even though my University is generally Chinese dominated, everyone speaks English and every lecture and research is conducted in English. Irrespective of that, students and my research team members still switch to Chinese language when they discuss within themselves.

This is not a problem for me as I have learned the Chinese language (conversational) and I can understand what they say. Right now, I am a professional at eating local foods with ease. I am also the only foreigner (African) in my office, but I still participate in every event weather Chinese, Malay or Indian”.

 

Conquer any inferiority complex by actively making a difference

Nneka’s slogan is ” Being different means making a difference anywhere you go and anywhere you find yourself”.

She adds that “the fact that you are in a career path where you are the only lady in a team of men is the key reason for you to stand out”. Some African people say, ‘Mechanical Engineering is not for ladies; a lady should be a teacher, a lawyer or even a house wife’. I can boldly say from experience that it is a blatant lie!

“I have met many African ladies like me who are in male dominated career paths, who also strive be the best and make a difference. This should inspire other women who have dropped out to get back on their feet and even do better” she says.

... I show them that Africans are not racist by braiding the hair of the kids for free. Click To Tweet

 

 

Making a difference includes contributing to the community you find yourself. Nneka does this by using one of her skills to make children smile.

“I have made an impact in the lives of the locals here, especially via my hair braiding skills. I was so surprised when I made it to the Chinese newspapers for just that little kind gesture “.

In addition, Nneka has many solar technology ideas that she intends to implement when she arrives in Nigeria.

You see why she just can’t turn her back? When you are full of dreams and know that the world is waiting to feel your impact, you wont turn back!

 

Networking is one the keys to staying motivated

Networking is today’s currency to getting up the success ladder and staying motivated. Nneka advises those in a global career and STEM fields to “try creating a network with people who are pioneers in that career path. In that way, they stay motivated and become significantly better”.


Are you in male dominated field/ industry?
Let us know more about you and your story here

Effectively handling multiple jobs like a pro

Reading to be a professional job juggler? Here's how to balance your 9-5 and your hustles Click To Tweet

So you got the gig! You are excited because you are finally on your way to doing something you really love. You spend endless hours on your side gig all in the hopes of being successful.

But your job becomes a distraction and starts to keep you away from your hustle. How do you balance it all? Below are some of my tips for being a professional job juggler.

Develop a work routine

The biggest problem with holding multiple jobs especially if you already have a full-time job is falling into the trap of thinking you don’t have to work as hard as you would a regular job.

Sorry to burst your bubble but having a freelancing gig may mean working twice as hard just to get a little bit of success. Therefore, a work routine needs to be developed for your multiple jobs.

If you have set aside 3 days a week to work on your side hustle do it! Treat your gig just the way you treat your regular job. If you can’t imagine slacking on your regular job then you sure can’t slack on your side job.

If you can’t imagine slacking on your regular job then you sure can’t slack on your side job Click To Tweet

Talk to others

The good part about the year being 2017 is that plenty of people have lived in on this earth. Chances are there are plenty of people doing what you are doing right now.

Talk to other freelancers and pick their brains on issues that you may be having. Also just ask them general questions about how they operate. Learning from others will help you avoid the mistakes they made and save you a whole lot of time and money.

Be organized

Being organized doesn’t always have to mean you have a physical space to call an office for your business. In these times, few businesses have that. Regardless always make sure you have your business cards, company profile and pitch ready.

This will significantly reduce your turnaround time with potential clients. Getting even one potential client is a good feat for a gig so you don’t want to scare off any. Additionally, you always want to feel ready to conquer what’s thrown at you.

Being organized doesn’t mean you have a physical space to call an office for your business Click To Tweet

Take time for yourself

Seriously, take a break. When you feel overwhelmed by your multiple jobs it is okay to have a time out to just think. Watch your favourite 90s movie (cue in Pretty Woman), take a bath, go out for drinks, read a good book the list is pretty endless.

The goal is to rejuvenate yourself so you can focus on your work.

Create goals for yourself.

Look! Goals give you direction period. If you do not set goals for yourself and your work you are most likely going to get overwhelmed.

Additionally, you will be working but not adding impact. Every morning when you wake up ask yourself, “What single task can I do today that will take my business forward?” It’s all about creating purpose and everything will fall into place.

Celebrate!!

Celebrate every little milestone you achieve while working multiple jobs. You will automatically psyche your brain into doing more and before you know it you’ll be a master of your craft.

How to mission travel

The best trips are those that are the most demanding, socially and professionally! Click To Tweet

I am sitting in the middle seat of an empty row (great when you need to catch up on some sleep), and we are a few hours away from final destination: Dakar, Senegal.

Since July last year, my world has been turned upside down in ways I never thought possible. I exited two years of post-bachelor unemployment (forcing myself to confront my aggravated social anxiety) to join an agency where I am in the air for what feels like 3 weeks every month.

Though it has been exciting to discover everything business travel has taught me, oh boy has it been tricky and downright scary sometimes. It’s that fear of the unknown I suppose. I cannot tell you if it will ever leave me. But I don’t intend on wasting these travel opportunities by focusing on my fears.

So I have mapped out a way in which I could be better prepared for mission travel, therefore less stressed, and more likely to take in as much as I can from these travels.

If you are interested, and especially if you will be going on your first travel missions soon, I hope you stick around and enjoy the read.

Step 1: The pre-travel prep

In the week preceding your travels, take some time to research not only your final destination but also the countries in which you will be transiting. Make sure you have the travel and transit durations right (those can get so confusing, I mean is it just me?).

Check the weather, the currency used in these countries and the predominant culture/religion for acceptable dress codes. You may want to calculate how much money you will need for the time you are away and take the appropriate amount of money beforehand; carrying dollars is very often the most appropriate. If you are not carrying cash, check for available banks and ATMs where you will be landing.

Let me give you an illustration of what went wrong when I didn’t research my travel destinations. Last month, I embarked on a trip to Abidjan via Addis Ababa. I was so excited because after my mission I would be discovering Abidjan with some friends who have their parents there.

All I could think of was the heat of Côte d’Ivoire and I imagined myself lying on the beach, sunnies on and all. I didn’t bother to check the weather in Addis where I would be spending the night and let’s just say, it was a pretty cold and uncomfortable night.

The same goes with transit durations. I once confused an overnight layover for one that would only last a few hours. I encountered a lot of stress finding a hotel to spend the night in, and I thank the heavens I hadn’t given in to the temptation of spending all my remaining cash.

Step 2: Pack appropriately and as lightly as you can

This is where, till today, I binge watch “how to pack lightly” YouTube videos like they’re going out of style. Yesterday I think I hit the mark when an airport officer remarked: “Your suitcase is so light for a lady, you always feel the need to pack everything.”

Needless to say that as a compulsive over-packer, I felt great. In all seriousness, it is important not to pack too heavily. If you pack light, you lose fewer things and you move faster.

Packing light, however, doesn’t mean you leave the things you do need behind. Other than clothing, make sure you pack all professional material relating to your mission travel, and then you’re good to go!

Learn how to pack like a pro here!

Step 3: Keep your eyes on the prize

So you’ve made it to your destination. Now what? If you are traveling alone, contact your boss or supervisor and make sure they know you’ve arrived safely and are ready to get moving. This serves two purposes,

1. Someone from your organization will know where you are and can assist with any urgent queries.
2. By calling when you get to your destination you can find out as soon as possible what you need to do and how you can get ahead on certain tasks.

Mission travel is often very short and we can use all the time we have.

How do you ace travelling for work when you have social anxiety? Read this! Click To Tweet

Step 4: Take care of yourself

Indeed, mission travel can be pretty fast pace. So remember to take care of yourself whenever you have the time. During travel, we often end up in surroundings we are not used to with people that may have completely different cultures than ours.

The change in scenery can be exhausting all on its own. So take some time out for you. Call your friends or a family member -yes, even if you’re only going to be away for 4 days- wake up a little earlier for some prayer or meditation time, or get to bed earlier if you can.

Step 5: Take in the travel and loosen up!

I recently read “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown from which a sentence struck out to me. I turned into an everyday prayer, and I am paraphrasing here, but it goes a little something like this; “let me have the courage to show up and let myself be seen”.

All this to say that you should expect that despite the stress of the travels, your colleagues are going to be a lot more relaxed, and it’s an opportunity to show your personality and get to know on a deeper level those with whom you work.

Travelling for work is a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues on a deeper level Click To Tweet

You’re going to get some FOMO too, sometimes you’re going to get an entire afternoon to yourself after work to visit your surroundings and sometimes you’re going to touch down and be on the next available flight in a matter of hours. Embrace it all and do what is possible.

As I finish off this article, I reflect on a week in Dakar, in which I was nervous to mix business and pleasure (I have a bestie in Dakar and I knew it wasn’t going to be just business)! But a lot of the time, the best trips are those that are the most demanding, socially and professionally!

With these words, I will leave you. Until next time.

5 things to do to get the corner office

Working your way up the corporate ladder? Take a look at how to get there with ease! Click To Tweet

After reading the book, “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office 101” by Lois P. Frankel, I felt it was only best to share some of the best tips that I learnt from this book! The book offers a bunch of no-no’s that we tend to overlook but actually, play a huge role in our professional careers.

As Black women, it is already an uphill battle as it is! We all know the steps we need to take to be successful, but how about we look at it from a different angle? Let’s take a look at what a Motherland Mogul should NOT be doing in order to reach the top.

1. Asking permission

It should be clear to people from the get go that you do not need approval from anybody! Go after what you want and be confident. If you are asking for permission, especially for simple things, you downplay the position you are in to make decisions.

Instead of asking your boss, “May I work from home today?” rather say, “I will be working from home today, I will be available via email or cell”. This shows that it is important for your boss to be informed, yet you can make your own decisions when it comes to yourself and your work.

2. Needing to be liked

Everybody wants to be liked and it can play a huge role in your success but, you have to strike a balance. If you are overly concerned with being liked, that means you are easily swayed by stronger personalities.

I was thrown into an industry I knew nothing about. I knew I was capable of doing the job, but I felt I needed to be liked because it was my first time at the rodeo. I became a “yes” woman and ended up doing other people’s work. I learnt that I need to stand my ground – new or not.

Not having a backbone meant that nobody was giving the respect I deserved, but at the same time, I was not showing anybody that I deserved it because I wanted to be liked so badly!

Click here to see what you should NOT be doing to reach success in the office. Click To Tweet

3. Holding your tongue

Society has been conditioned to believe that if a woman is being assertive, she is being a bitch and many women do not speak up as a result. This happens not only at work but in our personal spaces too.

A friend of mine told me about a superior who shoots down all her ideas, yet uses them as his own in important meetings to take all the credit. She let this happen for a while, but this made her realize that her boss is only stunting her growth in the long run. My friend kept all her ideas to herself until it was time to brainstorm in a meeting.

She received some great feedback and because of all the great work she put in over time, she was promoted. This also allowed her to gain the respect of her superior, keeping him from stealing any of her ideas! It is ok to disagree, and being assertive means people will respect you, not walk all over you.

4. Minimizing your work or position

Women tend to downplay their positions at work. Often you will hear, “Oh, I’m just a secretary, nothing special”. This is wrong! Whether you are a secretary or manager, each position plays a role in the growth of the company you work for.

My new transition into the finance industry was not the easiest as I learnt about everything from scratch. This made me downplay my role when people asked “what do you do?”, I just wanted to avoid the topic completely because I was ashamed of the fact that I was not in the field that I worked hard and studied for.

People did not take my expertise seriously because of this. I taught myself to snap out of that habit and acknowledge the fact that I am amazing at what I do and I should be proud of it. If you act like your job is not serious, then people will not take you seriously.

Check out how these office faux pas can stop a #MotherlandMogul from getting that corner office. Click To Tweet

5. Failing to define your brand

Personal branding is all the rage, and for good reason! Ask yourself how you want people to see you, what your expertise is and what you want to be known for.

You may be working in finance, but ultimately you want to be a writer. What are you doing to make sure that people know you as a writer? What are you bringing to the table to make sure your expertise is communicated well?

Ask yourself these questions. A lot of people make you feel like you should be following one path. But as a Motherland Mogul, it’s ok to be a jack of all trades or take on many interests. Show people what you got and you’re well on your way to success.

Laying the foundations of your business while holding down your day job

This been the hardest undertaking of our lives thus far, but also the most rewarding Click To Tweet

In August 2016, my friend and I took the plunge and decided to launch our very own social enterprise. Born out of many long conversations and brainstorming sessions, we finally settled on creating an organization that could help address some of the challenges Nigerian girls are facing stress-induced their educational development. That was how Give Girls A Chance came about.

We were giddy with excitement as we embarked on the process of registering the organization and launching a fundraising campaign. In January 2017, we had raised enough money to sponsor the first group of girls in the program with full scholarships including tuition, fees, books, and uniforms. We also recruited five amazing volunteers to serve as mentors through our dedicated mentoring program. With all of this in place, we set to work running the organization like the bad-ass boss ladies we are.

Half a year later, we can honestly say that this been the hardest undertaking of our lives thus far, but also the most rewarding thing we have ever done. Mind you we both decided to do this right at the moment when our other professional careers were taking off. I had just joined the UN in August and was posted to Zambia. My partner Hauwa was wrapping up her youth service and about to start working as a full-time doctor.

But this idea was something that had been on both of our minds for a long time and we did not want to wait any longer. We are both deeply passionate about public service and believe that it is our duty to contribute to the development of Nigeria. What better way to do that than by training up the next generation of women and future leaders of our country? So, we took the plunge, and for better or worse, we have survived to talk about it.

For every success that we have had, we have had twice as many failures and faced countless roadblocks. When it comes to laying the foundations for your businesses while holding down your day job, here are some of the experiences we’ve had and advice we would like to share with the readers.

Say goodbye to sleep…at least for the time being

Before you take this flirtationship any further, imagining the idea of starting a side hustle, business or organization while keeping your day job and still managing to get 8 hours of sleep, stay fit and avoid stress-induced acne, let me stop you right there.

Unless you are Wonder Woman (and who knows some of you very well may be), you should know now that you’re going to have to make a choice between bringing your business to life or getting the daily recommended 8 hours of sleep. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights we’ve had and how many things we’ve had to miss out on because we choose to invest our waking hours and our resources into growing our organization.

There is so much research, planning, and coordination required to grow a business and if you have to do this alongside a job that demands the 8 hours of the day when most people are typically productive, it simply means you’re going to have to cut into your sleep and leisure time to stay on top of everything.

The good news is that the joy of seeing your idea come to life is unparalleled. Nothing beats that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment you will have when you start to hit your targets. And if all it takes is skimping on sleep every now and then, that’s a small price to pay, right? You can always make it up later when your name is up in flashing lights and you’re rolling deep in that moolah.

You’re going to have to make a choice between bringing your business to life or sleeping Click To Tweet

Budget, budget, budget

I grew up with a banker for a father and he tried his best to instill in me the spirit of budgeting and saving. But I like shiny things too much and I’m always ready to take on the challenge of seeing how much stuff I can get for all the money in my account.

I am so thankful that Hauwa is in charge of the finances for Give Girls A Chance. We managed to raise a significant amount of money when we first launched and true to form I wanted to go big and sponsor as many girls as we could but Hauwa talked sense into me. We decided to start with 11 girls, put some money into savings so we could pay for events and plan for the future.

We knew that it would not be cool if we sponsored 200 girls for one semester or two, but then had no money to keep on going. The girls would end up right back where they started, having to drop out of school because they could not afford to go. Instead, we decided to take things step by step, prudently accounting for every kobo and making sure we were getting the best return on our investments.

As the new school year approaches, we are thrilled as we can now comfortably take on more girls for an extended period of time. My advice is to use the resources you have wisely and always have some money left in the bank.

Use the resources you have wisely and always have some money left in the bank Click To Tweet

Be consistent

Because we both have full-time jobs, the only times we are able to work on Give Girls A Chance related activities are in the evenings and on weekends. In fact, that’s not true. We end up replying to emails, texts, and requests during our lunch breaks at work too!

Saturday mornings at 9 AM are set in stone for our weekly check-in meetings and Sundays at 8 PM we check in with our strategic support team. Without fail, every week. Yes, this means even when one of us is on vacation in Zimbabwe or busy with bridesmaid’s duties at a friend’s wedding, we still make time to check in and get work done.

From the beginning, we also agreed that even though we had to start small, with a limited budget and resources, we would always strive for consistency. This means that we have set the organization’s calendar to run a major event or campaign every month. It’s been hard, but we have followed through on that promise.

Slowly but surely, we are building our presence and making a name for ourselves in the NGO space in Nigeria and people are starting to take notice.

Check-in meetings over the weekend? That's the life when you're running your enterprise & work full-time Click To Tweet

Ask for help

If you plan to grow a business successfully from scratch, you’re going to have to get very comfortable saying the word, please. From the beginning, Hawua and I were clear about what our strengths were and what things needed to get done that we were not capable of doing ourselves.

We knew that if we were clear on what our vision was, along the way, we were bound to run into people who believed in our vision as well, or at the very least believed in us. These people would be willing to lend us their time or money to show their commitment.

We got my cousin to build our website for free (shout out to Urey Onuoha), we got help from our parents and friends as we drafted and refined our strategy, our friends and family were also the first to contribute substantially to funding the organization.

At the SheHive in Joburg last year, I met the amazing Yetunde Dada who heads her own social enterprise CRNCH. CRNCH has been instrumental in helping us get our strategy right, making our grant proposals look amazing and spending hours brainstorming and working with us on everything from how to fundraise to how to make our mentoring program more effective. All of this for free and in their spare time.

So my advice is to network like crazy and don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and ask people for help even before you are able to afford them.

Plan for your growth so you’re not surprised when it happens

Having a plan from the beginning will help you avoid a lot of confusion further down the line. A good question to consider is, “Do I want this to remain a side hustle or do I eventually want to get this business to the point where I can quit my day job and focus all my attention on this?”.

Another question could be, “Do I want to keep my business local, take it nationwide or global?” For Give Girls A Chance our vision is to grow the organization to the point where it becomes a major player in terms of work being done at the intersection of educational development and women/girls issues in Nigeria.

We want to have a presence nationwide, basically, anywhere there are large groups of out-of-school children we want to be active there. So while we are currently focused on our activities in Abuja, and limited by bandwidth and resources, we are always on the lookout for new opportunities and partnerships.

We are exploring diverse fundraising streams and we are learning from best practices globally on how to structure and deliver educational development practices. We may be small but we are agile and easily adaptable. The question is not will we grow but rather how soon?

If you plan to grow a business from scratch, get very comfortable saying the word, please Click To Tweet

Never lose sight of your vision

There are going to be many days where you will look and think to yourself, but why am I killing myself softly with all this wahala. After all, I have a daytime job to fall back on so why not just focus on that?

You have to be ready for those days. At the beginning of the year, we compiled a list of the top 10 goals we wanted to achieve through Give Girls A Chance and I printed and stuck those to my dream board so I am reminded every morning of what we are doing and why I must remain committed.

The cause is also one that is dear to my heart, helping other girls succeed and make the most out of their lives. So at the end of the day even if GGAC were to only change one girl’s life, that would still have made all the difference for me.

What is that one thing fanning the flames of passion in your heart? What is it about this idea, business or organization that you know you must achieve and won’t stop until you do? Remind yourself of that as often as possible, especially when the going gets tough. It will help you keep you on track.

These are just a few of the things that we have learned along the way that we hope could serve as encouragement and motivation to other women who may be thinking of embarking on the same journey and establishing their own businesses or organizations.

Wherever you are in the process, we would love to hear from you and hear your thoughts. What have you learned from starting a business while keeping your daytime job that you would like to share with us and with the other readers?

Being your own boss as a freelancer

You need to fully get your hustle on and sell yourself whenever you get the chance. Click To Tweet

Welcome to the freelance life.

First off, I’ve noticed a Nigerian trend where too many young people are obsessed with the title of CEO on their name cards, and less committed to undertaking the hard work that comes with working for oneself. In an economy that may or may not be in a recession, the conventional employment sector is overburdened as too many people clamor for scarce resources. For some others, the strings of a 9-to-5 or round-the-clock job working for someone else is just not appealing.

Let’s be straight up, here. Freelancing is not an easy path to navigate but there are serious perks to it if you’re actually good at what you do, and if you’re prepared to put yourself out there. There is such a wide range of freelance occupations which includes writers, graphic designers, animators, accountants, MUAs, hair stylists, recruiters, lawyers, models, real estate agents and more.

Statistics tell us that about a third of all working Americans are freelancers. In several parts of Africa, we can expect that more people are also taking up freelance work. There are several perks to working as a freelancer:

  • Your time is flexible
  • You’re your own boss
  • You get to select the projects that interest you

All that sounds super great, so let’s balance it out. There is a downside…there is no guaranteed income stream. This is true especially when you’re just starting out. It means you need to fully get your hustle on and sell, sell, sell yourself whenever you get the chance. Some periods may be a lot better than others. Sometimes, you’re absolutely swamped with work and at other times, you’re almost begging for work.

How to boss it?

Network!

Whenever you meet new people or talk to old friends, tell them about what you do. People are always looking for freelancers but you wouldn’t know if you don’t spark up the conversation.

Be super organized

It’s important to respond to clients in a timely manner and to keep adequate records. It helps to have a to-do list and to set hours when you must get things done.

Brand yourself online and offline

Use social media to showcase your skills and highlight your personal brand. Work on a splendid offline portfolio too, get all your marketing tools in check.

Look for opportunities on social media

Forget looking only at the traditional sources! I personally have been exposed to more opportunities on social media. Twitter is a great tool to find work and engage with other freelancers as yourself.

I personally love the freedom that comes with being able to plan around my own time, to travel while I work, to work at odd hours. Just remember, you need to be practical about your goals and expectations, and you need to put considerable time and effort in to get to your ideal place.

Kindly share your tips and experiences from working as a freelancer with us.